Morecambe boss Jim Bentley praised players and fans after the Shrimps earned their first points of the season on Tuesday.
A-Jay Leitch-Smith’s first-half goal gave them a 1-0 win over Northampton Town at the Globe Arena, snapping their three-game losing start to League Two.
Victory, Morecambe’s first in 15 league and cup games stretching back to March, could have been more emphatic with Cobblers keeper David Cornell keeping them in the game.
However, it could also have been snatched away from the Shrimps following the 86th minute dismissal of keeper Barry Roche for a second booking – moments after Bentley had used his final substitute.
Not for the first time, midfielder Alex Kenyon donned the gloves as an emergency keeper and made three crucial saves in the time remaining, watched by a noisy crowd of 1,594.
Bentley said: “There was a great atmosphere and I thought both sets of players went after it.
“Our football was excellent at times and theirs was good as well; Barry Roche made a couple of saves and we missed a couple of chances.
“We scored a great goal and then, second half, I thought we were the better side early doors but Northampton turned the screw.
“We made a couple of changes and it was all going to plan but then Barry got sent off and Alex Kenyon looked like the flying cat!
“It was a great atmosphere, a great occasion and a great way to get the first win of the season.”
Having lost their first three league games, the onus was on the Shrimps to try and take something against a Northampton team seeking an immediate return to League One.
It was a challenge they embraced with some excellent passing football and a constant threat up front.
Leitch-Smith could have had a hat-trick but for Cornell, who also thwarted Rhys Oates, Kevin Ellison and Andy Fleming.
According to Bentley, Leitch-Smith – along with players such as Oates and former Stockport County striker Jason Oswell – is a prime example of the market in which Morecambe have to shop.
“I can go on about what Northampton are compared to us,” the manager said.
“We aren’t blessed to get the top players so we’re going to have to take a few gambles.
“That’s what we’ve done and that’s the type of club we are; the season hasn’t gone well but we’ve kept believing.
“Although Northampton haven’t won a game, they have some very good players and we knew they would have chances but we dug in there.”